At the end of the 19th century, when Japan started opening itself to the world, it quickly embraced a number of different sports. However, it is undeniable that baseball is the number one sport in the country. There are even several Japanese professional baseball players who excel in other countries. Let’s get to know two of the popular ones!
— PR TIMESスポーツ (@PRTIMES_SPORTS) February 22, 2018
Shohei Ohtani is a popular baseball player who recently joined the Los Angeles Angels (LA Angels), an American professional baseball franchise based in California. He was born on July 5, 1994, in Iwate, Japan. His skill was first noticed when he scored the fastest pitch (160 km/hr) in his high school, Hanamaki Higashi High School. He won several tournaments that helped him decide to move directly into the major leagues after high school.
Before joining the international baseball team, Ohtani spent some time playing for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. By the end of 2017, he finally decided to join the LA Angels. It was actually tough for him to decide which team he would join. Several teams pursued him by making their own presentations regarding the philosophies and how they plan to use Ohtani’s talents. It is said that he chose the Angels because he felt a strong connection to them. He is now considered as Japan’s next rising baseball star who took up his new life in the USA.
宮崎での野球教室の模様& #松井秀喜 インタビューがご覧いただけます。
Video interview w #HidekiMatsui in Japanese and highlights of the baseball clinic that took place in Japan the other day.#熊本 #Kumamoto #くまモン #Kumamon #Matsui55BaseballFoundation https://t.co/z4VIaFvTHI pic.twitter.com/IVN3vKKf3d
— Matsui 55 Baseball (@M55Baseball) February 20, 2018
Hideki Matsui is a Japanese-American former baseball outfielder and designated hitter who played both in Japan and the USA. However, his career ended in 2013.
Matsui was born in Ishikawa, Japan. During his early life, he already showed prowess as a hitter. He originally batted using his right hand but later on became an overpowering left-handed batter. He was popular during his high school years where he competed in many tournaments.
Matsui’s career in the USA began when he signed with the New York Yankees in December 2002. He surprised people by becoming the first to hit a grand slam in his first-ever game at Yankee Stadium. He also became the first Japanese to hit a home run in the World Series, an annual championship series of Major League Baseball.
If you’d like to know more about him, you can visit the Hideki Matsui Baseball Museum in Ishikawa Prefecture. You will learn more about his passion and his effort in pursuing his dream career here. The museum is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and admission costs 400 yen for adults, 100 yen for children aged 6 to 15, and free for children under 6.
These two are just some of the legendary baseball players who took their baseball careers to the next level by competing internationally. If you’ve been dreaming to become a professional baseball player, why not follow Matsui’s and Ohtani’s steps? Who knows, you might just be dubbed as the next rising baseball star?